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Posts posted by mererdog

  1. On 7/27/2018 at 9:42 PM, zamber said:

    The word pontifex translated to English is "bridge builder" which is the reason the pope is called "pontifex maximus."

    There are some who say that the pontifex were originally engineers, as well as priests. That they literally built bridges. It makes a fair amount of sense.

    And bear in mind that the word pontifex is a holdover from the Pagan Roman priesthood. Its origins have nothing to do with Christianity, Judaism, or monotheism.

  2. On 7/27/2018 at 9:42 PM, zamber said:

    The etymology of the English word priest is "one put over others" related to "prime" as in first. So a "priest" was over the people and below a god.

    That is one theory. The following is the more commonly accepted theory, as explained by the Oxford English Dictionary...

    "From Old English prēost, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch priester, German Priester, based on ecclesiastical Latin presbyter ‘elder’ (see presbyter)."

  3. On 7/26/2018 at 7:26 PM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:


    I used to.  Then I advanced to Apatheism.  That's short for -- I don't give a crap and I'm tired of arguing.  

    From my point of view, you seem to still be trying to justify it. "What about all the other gods that I don't believe in?" You see how I read that as defensive?

    Your explanation of Apatheism tends to feel the same way. You go past "I don't care" into "It doesn't matter" and the whole thing ends up feeling like someone trying to justify themself with the classic "Leave me alone! I'm not hurting anything!"

    And no value judgment here. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with justifying it, nor am I calling you a liar or a hypocrite.

    To be completely frank, when someone goes out of their way to tell me that they don't care about something, it makes me think that they really, really care about it. That probably says more about me than you, but I like talking about myself, so....

  4. 41 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

    You think  that I need to justify my non-belief in the Biblical God.

    I didn't say or imply that you need to do anything. I said that some people will sometimes need to. Some people will sometimes need 50 feet of rope, but that does not mean that you do. I don't claim to know your desires or your circumstances well enough to know what you need, asside from the biological basics.

    I don't need to justify my lack of belief. So I usually don't. I occasionally do, simply because I can enjoy the experience. If you don't need to do it, and you don't like doing it, why let others goad you into doing it?

  5. On 7/23/2018 at 9:42 AM, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

    Does anybody on this board - think that an Atheist needs to justify non-belief?  

    Needs are just wants in disguise. Non-belief needs to be justified if that is how to get what you want. So, really, the question is "What is there to gain, if anything, by justifying non-belief?" I can think of two answers.


    1. Self-knowledge. Justifying your position can force you to examine it critically. It can make you try to understand why you think the way you do.


    2. The understanding of others. Justifying your position can help others relate to you better. It can make it easier for them to see you as a person, rather than a stereotype.


    Now, neither of these benefits are automatic, nor are they ever guaranteed. But, in certain circumstances, making the effort to justify your position (whatever it happens to be) is the only thing that can do the job. So the trick is figuring out when the effort is useful and when it is wasted- which requires an acknowledgement that is neither always wasted nor always useful.

  6. 8 hours ago, Dan56 said:

    "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." (Matthew 5:5)

    Yes, that is the quote we were discussing.

    Just so you know, that bit about "get all agitated and worked-up over nothing and end up feeling all frazzled" is not helpful. As a rule, pointing out the flaws you think you see in others is considered rude, provided they did not ask you to do so. Even where the analysis is accurate, rather than prompting introspection and self-improvement, it will usually cause antagonism and strife.

  7. 14 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

    In my opinion, manners are good and civility is a virtue.  For all that, the meek do not inherit the Earth.  They get eaten.  People who don't demand respect, don't get any.  

    That has not been my experience. I have been told it's just my White Privilege, but my experience is my experience, you know? I get respect from most people without demanding it, and I find that people who only give respect to those who demand it are people whose opinions I don't respect. And while the meek do get eaten, the aggressive tend to grind themselves to dust. It seems to be a toss up as far as who will outlast who.


    Personally, I know that I like being nice and I don't like being mean. I mean, I like pretend mean, like insult comedy or practical jokes, but deliberately trying to hurt people always makes me feel bad. Not always right away, but always. I have heard violence likened to crack cocaine. The rush is awesome, but there's always a price to pay.

  8. 1 hour ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:


    Polite society?  The culturally dominant get to proclaim the glory of their faith, while the rest of us whisper or go silent? 

    The idea is that those who loudly proclaim their faith in public are being rude in a way that damages the ability of society to function. The same was said of partisanship. These are mores from the Old South, where being soft spoken and getting along are considered virtues in and of themselves. Where being Pleasant Company is thought of as a higher calling...

    I added the see no evil hear no evil monkeys earlier to suggest the basic danger with that thinking. The mild mannered tend to get steamrolled by those who don't bother being polite. Yet I still tend to ma'am and sir, you know? It really does make life more pleasant, for the most part...

  9. 2 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

    Alright.  You don't like I don't care?

    Its not that I don't like it. I can just see why it would rub some people the wrong way. If you're looking for a label that is completely non-controversial, I'm afraid there's not going to be one. The position you're labeling is inherently controversial, as are all religious positions. What you call it can't prevent people from reacting to what it actually is, and a subset of people will see your position as hostile to their own. That's why I was taught as a child that religion is one of the subjects we don't talk about in polite society...


  10. When I tell people I am an atheist, I rarely catch any crap. It probably helps that I am enormous, and have a disarming smile. Frankly, I rarely catch any crap over anything. It makes life easier... I get to call myself whatever feels right to me. So I call myself an atheist.


    On one level, I don't care about God, because I have a core belief that God is not real. The same sort of irrationally comforting belief as my belief that the Sun will rise, or my belief that my wife loves me. But on perhaps a more important level, I care about God because others care about God. God is real to them, and so God has a real effect on my life. 

    Also, I have been wrong about stuff before. It seems only prudent to rethink my preconceptions.

  11. 15 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

    What could be more harmless than -- I don't care? 

    Consider the emotional impact of telling someone that you don't care about their spouse, their parent, or their child. Imagine the social consequences of saying that you don't care about the Holocaust. "I don't care" may actually be one of least harmless things you can say.

  12. On 7/10/2018 at 10:01 AM, RevBogovac said:

    My emphasis was on "thinking", the rest are just consumers following the crowd... hence: lazy... 

    It isn't simply a matter of lazily following the crowd. Its a cultural imperative. There are steep social penalties for failing to participate as expected, and massive social benefits for exceeding those expectations. This leads to most people giving it a great deal of thought, to the point where the holiday season becomes the most stressful season of the year.

    Its not pretty. Although at least they didnt keep all that weird blackface stuff when they made Santa Claus.

  13. 20 hours ago, Dan56 said:

    Its not always possible to help someone who doesn't want to be helped.


    So God is not omnipotent? There are things He cannot do? Talking bushes, virgin births, feeding multitudes with a couple fish, and even raising the dead are possible for Him- but its impossible for Him to help some people?

    • Like 1
  14. 5 hours ago, RevBogovac said:

    Ah well. c'mon people; the bible is a nice philosophical book full of metaphors one can choose to learn from (or not). 

    It totally isn't that. I mean, it does contain some philosophy and some metaphors, but they don't even comprise the majority of the book. Its full of everything from folk history and legal records to geneologies and dream diary entries... Its a very complicated collection of disparate texts...

  15. On 7/7/2018 at 10:50 PM, Dan56 said:

    And no,  I would not feel guilty if I had the power to help some while others were harmed.

    That is not the question. The question is whether you would feel guilty if you had the power to help everyone, but chose to help some while harming others. If you chose, in other words, to hurt people you had the power to help.

  16. On 7/7/2018 at 10:50 PM, Dan56 said:

    You can't promote good when you insist on bringing evil along.

    You are putting limits on God again. If God is omnipotent, as you said, there is nothing that He can't do. The fact that we can't do it, and even the fact that we don't see how it could be possible to do it, would have no bearing on the simple fact that an omnipotent being could do it.

    Omnipotence precludes the excuse of necessity. If God is omnipotent, things are the way they are because God wants them to be that way. Evil exists because God wants evil to exist. People are imperfect because God wants people to be imperfect. To find fault with the creation is to find fault with the creator.  

    Assuming, as you say, that God is omnipotent. If God is not omnipotent, and therefore restrained by limitations, the moral arithmetic changes drastically.

  17. 4 hours ago, RevBogovac said:

    True... for the 0,1% thinking and acting like that. For the 99,9 other %... well... maybe...

    You think its that small a percent? Christmas is a massive economic driver here. No company can really avoid thinking about how it effects their bottom line. And the yearly media blitz extolling the virtues of "Finding The Perfect Gift" highlights the replacement of Christ with Consumerism as the centerpiece of the holiday in the collective consciousness...

  18. 8 hours ago, RevBogovac said:

    That's "just" Americans being lazy...

    It has more to do with Americans trying to more efficiently exploit profit opportunities. Economies of scale, and all that.

    Piggy-backing the Santa myth on the Christmas holiday created more opportunities for "kid-friendly" merchandising while simultaneously cementing in the popular consciousness the notion that Christmas is primarily about gift-giving (and, therefore, gift-buying).

    Perhaps as an unintended consequence, older children learning that they have been intentionally lied to about Santa often end up reexamining their beliefs regarding other Christmas stories.

  19. 9 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

    I find the overt, conscious, conspiracies much more troubling.

    I think motive is key here. The purpose the symbol is being used for as opposed to which symbol is being used, you know? Its why I mentioned blasphemy. Religion has a lot of powerful tools that are readily adapted for secular purposes. While doing so can have the appearance of forcing religion onto the secular, what it often does is secularize the religious.


    You can see this in the way that popular culture continually erodes away the religious aspects of Christmas in order to create a more effective marketing tool.